American Troops In Red Square
It’s been more two decades since the Cold War ended, but that doesn’t make the sight of American troops marching through Red Square any less jarring for those of us old enough to remember the days when such an event would have been unthinkable:
U.S. troops marched through Red Square for the first time in a Victory Day parade on Sunday as Russia celebrated the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
It was a scene cut from Russia’s Cold War nightmares: 71 Americans in dark blue dress uniforms carried the U.S. flag over the cobblestones, past the mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin and the towers of the Kremlin wall to salute Russian leaders.
French, British and Polish soldiers also took part in the parade in a tribute to the role the Allies played in what Russia called the Great Patriotic War. Under clear skies, the reviewing stands were packed with Russian officials, foreign dignitaries and hundreds of aging war veterans.
“In 1945, not only a military but also a great moral victory was achieved, a common victory,” President Dmitry Medvedev told the crowd. Soldiers of various countries marching Sunday in a single formation “is evidence of our common readiness to defend peace, not to allow the revision of the outcomes of war and new tragedies.”
Of course, not every Russian welcomed the sight:
Author Alexander Prokhanov, editor in chief of the nationalist Zavtra daily, called the appearance of U.S. servicemen in Red Square a national humiliation.
“The fact that American troops are trampling underfoot the cobblestones of Red Square is a huge shame and humiliation for Russia,” Prokhanov said. “Thus they are celebrating their final victory not in World War II but in the Cold War.”
For the most part, though, the foreign troops seemed to be warmly greeted by the citizens of Moscow, especially the Polish troops. So, perhaps Mr. Prokhaov’s nationalist paranoia isn’t much of anything to worry about.
Nonetheless, as I said, there’s something historically jarring about seeing American troops marching through a square where, only two decades ago, the Soviets would annually display the military might they were aiming at the West. I’m sure, eventually, we’ll all get used to the idea.
Here’s video of the U.S., UK, and French troops (via Hot Air):
The American troops, incidentally, were from the 18th Infantry Regiment.